After grabbing their ninth shutout victory of the young season on Tuesday against Furman, the South Carolina Gamecocks went on to capture their SEC opening series against the Ole Miss Rebels. Such triumphs would cement their status as the premier team in the country, as the Gamecocks reside at the top of College Baseball Central’s Top 25 rankings for the third straight week.
Although the Gamecocks suffered their first losing effort of the season in Friday evening’s series opener, they responded with a pair of wins in Saturday’s doubleheader. South Carolina staged a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth, pushing the first game into extras, where they would capture the 5-4 win in 10 frames. The Gamecocks carried over that momentum into the nightcap, sealing the series win against a very talented Rebels ball club.
The Florida State Seminoles come in at a close second, as they swept the then-No. 8 ranked NC State Wolfpack in three games, who came into the weekend having dropped just a single contest in 15 games since their loss to Canisius in the season opener on February 16.
Virginia remains at No. 3 after a 13-2 victory over James Madison on Tuesday and a three-game sweep of Boston College over the weekend, although they barely came out alive on Saturday and Sunday, as the Eagles held the Cavaliers at bay in both contests. Also staying put at No. 4 is Oregon State, as the Beavers once again displayed a stellar performance on the mound in their weekend sweep of Utah on the road.
Rounding out the Top 5 is Vanderbilt, who moved up a spot in the rankings this week after taking two of three from LSU this weekend at home. As such, LSU fell from the Top 5 and into the sixth spot, one spot ahead of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, who swept Louisiana-Monroe by a combined score of 39-4 over the weekend.
Big movers this week include the UCLA Bruins, who moved up four spots to the No. 18 slot after a 5-0 shutout victory against UC Irvine on Tuesday and a sweep of California on the road over the weekend. Houston (No. 23 to No. 20) and Mississippi State (No. 24 to No. 21) each vaulted three spots in the rankings after successful showings this weekend as well.
Texas dropped eight spots to the No. 22 slot after losing its weekend series to Kansas, while Oklahoma State dropped five spots from No. 18 to No. 23 – who although won three of the five games they played last week, are victims of the close competition of teams towards the back end of the rankings.
New to the rankings are San Diego, who comes in at No. 24 after grabbing a midweek victory against Cal State Fullerton and sweeping BYU over the weekend, and UC Santa Barbara, who fills in our final slot at No. 25 after a midweek win over Pepperdine and claiming their weekend series against Wichita State.
The staff of College Baseball Central determines the NCAA Division I Top 25 rankings based on team performance, future outlook based on talent level and projection, and the difficulty level of opponents.
College Baseball Central Top 25
|1. South Carolina||18-1||3-1||1|
|2. Florida State||17-2||5-0||2|
|4. Oregon State||18-3||4-0||4|
|8. Cal Poly||17-3||6-0||11|
|10. NC State||14-5||1-3||8|
|12. Cal State Fullerton||10-7||2-2||10|
|13. North Carolina||14-5||4-2||15|
|14. Ole Miss||17-4||3-2||13|
|19. Sam Houston State||16-4||3-1||21|
|21. Mississippi State||15-8||3-1||24|
|23. Oklahoma State||14-6||3-2||18|
|24. San Diego||14-4||4-0||NR|
|25. UC Santa Barbara||13-3||3-1||NR|
|Other teams receiving consideration: Alabama, Kentucky, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, Texas Tech|